I may be Scottish, but that doesn’t mean I automatically support whichever football team England are playing. Since I enjoy watching football (almost as much as playing it) I like to see a good game, quality passing, quality goals and non-stop entertainment. I support Real Madrid (have done for years, long before your Zidane’s and Raul’s played there) so naturally I’m a fan of Dave Beckham who has in my mind been their best player this season. I watch the premiership and love seeing the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man U slugging it out with some of the world’s best players – some of them English.
So I can hardly watch the World Cup and see a lot of English players I respect and admire – and want them to lose just because Scottish people are supposed to want them to. No, I want them to do well – we’re all British at the end of the day. But frankly, I find them as frustrating to watch as your average Englishman probably does.
You need 5-6 world class players to win a major championship and I think England are there or thereabouts. They have in Lampard and Gerrard two of the best attacking midfielders in the world. In Joe Cole they’ve got a creative player who stands out in a team like Chelsea which is saying something. I’ve been on about Joe Cole for years – ever since I saw him play for the West Ham youth team at 15 – I always told people he’d be a star and they’d say “luxury player”. Shows what they know! Oh, and Wayne Rooney – well no need to talk about the future world player of the year, the press do enough of that.
So when I sit down to watch them I’m always hopeful they’ll show what they can do week in, week out for their clubs. But it never happens. They always seem to struggle, they don’t pass, they make heavy weather of everything and just don’t play to their potential. In fact, they play like my work team does – and that’s not a compliment to anybody!
If England were to win the World Cup by being the best team, I’m not going to begrudge them that. But if they just continue to under-perform and get eliminated long before then I’ll be disappointed, not celebrating. However if they play well and still get knocked out, well it’s fair enough – I won’t be cheering but I won’t be crying either!
I should have put a bet on though. I couldn’t decide who to support before the tournament started – it was either Spain or Argentina – and it turns out they’re the two star teams playing the best football! Since I already have a Spain top from the last European championships, I guess I’ll have to nip out and buy an Argentina one to add to my collection. At least they play like a team – and their coach doesn’t get paid millions a year unlike a certain Swede who isn’t exactly what I’d call value for money if I were an England supporter…
I’m not football expert, or even particularly a fan, but I do watch some of the major tournaments. Like this football World Series thing that’s on now. I’ve noticed that it always seems to be the same story with England…
We get off to a slow start and don’t look at all convincing but get through to the next round anyway. Then, as we play more as a team we start to get better and there are odd flashes of individual brilliance, and sometimes we even vanquish an old foe and good team (Holland/Germany/Argentina) in famous style. At this point pundits start to talk seriously about us winning the thing and the press whip everyone up to a fervour so that the whole country seems to be holding its breath during every game.
Along the way, one of our key players will have picked up an injury or will have been suspended because of a foolish hot-headed incident earlier on. Whatever, he’s going to miss the next game, which we have to win to stay in the tournament. We get an early goal but lose our lead due to a silly mistake and then the rest of the team lose their bottle without this key player. In spite of this we somehow fight like lions and hold on. Then it goes to extra time, followed by penalties and there’s one of our players who doesn’t look as confident as the rest and who hoofs the ball over the bar. The opposition have to miss their penalty for England to stay in the competition but they never do and we crash out and everyone’s in a bad mood for the next four years.
Ha ha, sounds like I’m more optimistic about England’s chances than you are! However you’ve pretty much summed up what’s most likely to happen to England this time – unless maybe, just maybe, it all comes together…
See, I was right! How many years of hurt are we up to now?
I know, you were absolutely correct – sounds like you could have a career in football punditry! It’s got to be 40 years of hurt and counting!